When the Lakers traded away Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks a year ago, part of the deal involved the rights to a 2012 2nd round pick. The Lakers used that pick to get themselves, well, another Odom.
This past Friday, Darius Johnson-Odom signed a non-guaranteed contract with the team capping, at least for now, an amazing summer for Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss.
The addition of the 55th overall pick out of Marquette comes exactly a week after the inking of another 2nd-round pick Robert Sacre from Gonzaga.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound shooting guard averaged 3.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists coming off the bench during the summer league in Las Vegas. As a Golden Eagle, Johnson-Odom tallied 15.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his entire collegiate career. His best game came when he scored 19 points against Washington in a first-round NCAA tournament game.
As a senior, Darius finished 2nd in scoring in the Big East and earned Preseason All-Big East First Team in his senior year culminating in a 24-5 season record for Marquette.
Johnson-Odom actually started playing for the Golden Eagles in his sophomore year where he posted a remarkable 45.5% shooting from the field and 47.4% from behind the arc averages in nearly 30 minutes. However, his shooting efficiency took a huge dip into his final year to 44.7% and 38.5% respectively in about the same amount of playing time.
Offensively, he is most deadly as a spot-up shooter or an off-of-screen shooter. Johnson-Odom does possess enough quickness and solid ambidexterous dribbling abilities to take it to the rim but his average-at-best athleticism and vertical game limit his finishes in a crowded paint. However, he effectively uses his strong core and wide shoulders to score even against bigger guards and forwards.
On defense, Johnson-Odom isn't a stopper by any stretch of the imagination. But his strength and tenacity allow him to defend quicker guards and small forwards.
Overall, Darius can be a useful and productive player off of the bench. He can score, defend and rebound despite his undersized stature.
But the Lakers know what he can bring to the table. The issue is, will he be smart enough to figure out which part of his game he has to focus on that the other team's young guards and hopefuls aren't delivering in order to earn a spot in the roster?